Monday, August 5, 2013

Celery and Walnut Salad

Celery is usually one of those vegetables essential for certain things; tuna salad, mirepoix, chicken almond ding. Rarely have I thought of it as the center of attention... unless it was the base for ants on a log. This salad is surprisingly delicious, and the intensely lemon vinaigrette really alters the flavor of the celery. Some walnuts and Gruyere round out the salad, and you're left with something unexpectedly great. This is a fun thing to prepare for guests, since you'll be almost guaranteed a surprise reaction from them once they try it. 

I've adapted this a bit from Ina Garten's recipe, mainly because I wanted to use Gruyere instead, and it makes a very large amount of vinaigrette. I halved it here since I didn't want as much left over- and you'll still have a good amount remaining. It keeps well for a few days in the fridge, and tastes amazing on steamed green beans.


~5 cups thinly sliced celery (on the bias), about 2 
   bunches, with leaves
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup shaved Gruyere
salt and pepper

for the vinaigrette:

juice of 2 small lemons
zest of one lemon
~1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (you may want to add 
   more, since this is very lemony)
1 shallot, minced
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
pinch of pepper

Whisk together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and set aside. Add the celery to a large bowl and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add about 1/2 of the vinaigrette and toss well. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in fridge for at least 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to marry. 

When serving, give the salad a final toss, taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Top with toasted nuts and cheese.

Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa's Celery and Parmesan Salad

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